Here I am sitting at a Padstal in the Karoo, gazing at the mountains bordering a dry veldt speckled with yellow, brown and some green growth. My heart warms at the scene and takes me back to the Camino Pilgrimage just a few weeks ago. I long to be part, once again, of that amazing space of deep silence. It is a stillness which speaks loudly of truth, purity of be-ing and of our original bliss as humanity.
Here I was invited to listen, to really look with the heart – a way of being, in which one can experience true freedom. I’ve learnt that nature has no need to be anything else but what it was created to be. A tree is a tree, no matter what kind. It is true to its nature – no need for masks, no need to succeed, no need to impress or possess. Because nature just is, we can stand still in awe and see within ourselves the needless energy we spend on non-essentials. This is true of a tree, a wee flower, grass with its prickly seeds; mountains, sheep, goats and buck. All helped me to pause and listen to a deep stillness that permeated me with a tranquillity that spilt as tears of gratitude.
As my rhythm began to merge with that of nature, I became present to the Great Presence and restlessness, the need to rush about, bowed out to the loving embrace of tranquillity, of peace and of awe. When I opened my soul to this awesome and wondrous Creator, I longed to be truly one with this sense of wholeness. The further I walked in silence, the more I ‘heard’ a small voice gently prodding me to look at the spaces in my being, not yet at peace with this holy space. I tapped into two such areas and to my utter surprise I was graced to move beyond certain mindsets and resistance that actually kept me bound. I felt such great peace as I submitted to God’s healing and feel today still the freedom and lightness that wrapped me round like a blanket of love.
To crown this, there was the added pleasure of getting to know the very special people on this pilgrimage – kind, caring and beautiful – each a gift to the other. Ah and there is the treat after a long, hot and dusty road to return to our accommodation for a hot shower, some rest on a comfortable bed, sitting in a social circle round the fire, followed by a five star meal; the hosts a perfect fit to the general experience of the pilgrimage.
Then last but definitely not the least, I want to honour Belinda, our facilitator, of this experience. Thank you Belinda for pouring yourself out for us with your love, generosity, your prayer and caring which was a part of each day. Thank you for responding to God’s whispering and giving birth, not to a ‘hike’, but a sauntering experience on “highways of holiness to encounter Sacred Spaces” …. without and within.
Reflection by St Sylvia (Winter Erusmuskloof Camino Retreat)